Conducting Research in MNPS

If you or your organization is interested in conducting a research project, a program evaluation project, a stand-alone survey, or an action research project within Metro Nashville Public Schools, the department of Research, Assessment, and Evaluation (RAE) is happy to facilitate a proposal review.

In order to conduct research within MNPS, researchers are required to:
  1. Attend the Research Review Forum (within a year of project submission)
  2. Contact a district leader to ask for endorsement of the project
  3. Email a completed MNPS Research Application and supplemental materials to the MNPS Research Review Committee (RRC) for review.

Action research at the MA/EdS level (a reflective process in which educators gather data to improve their practices) may be eligible for an expedited review, but all other proposals for research, surveys, and/or program evaluation must be reviewed at the monthly RRC meeting.


Information for Researchers

Before Submitting
  • START HERE: Research Review Process Flowchart
  • Sign up for an upcoming Research Review Forum (mandatory before submitting a proposal)
    • Action researchers are not required but still encouraged to attend
  • Download and complete the MNPS Research Application (updated June 2024)
  • Contact one district leader to ask them to complete the internal endorsement form: Directory of District Leaders. Here’s what to include when you contact a potential endorser:
    • Provide an overview of your study
    • Share that you plan to submit your application to the MNPS RRC
    • Ask the leader to complete the internal District Leader Endorsement Form
After RRC Approval


Information for District Leaders Endorsing Research

This internal one-pager includes all the details: MNPS Process for District Leader Research Endorsement

Here are the basic steps:

  1. The researcher will email you to explain their project and ask you to complete the internal endorsement form.
  2. When you are contacted, first carefully consider whether you want to endorse the research. Ask follow-up questions if needed.
  3. Complete the District Leader Endorsement Form to indicate whether or not you endorse or support the research.
A Note About Final Approvals  

Even if you endorse a project, it does not mean the project is approved -- the Research Review Committee is the final say on approvals.


Additional Information about the Research Review Committee  

Review Criteria

The Research Review Committee (RRC) reviews each proposal on the following criteria:

  • Is the proposal designed so that valid and reliable results can be expected?
  • Is there a reasonable chance that the study will contribute something useful and of value to the school system?
  • Does the study make appropriate provisions for the protection of personal rights and privacy?
  • Does the potential of the study justify the interruption of the work of pupils, teachers, and/or staff?

Our research review policies are guided by the Belmont Report, and any research approved by the RRC is subject to the rules and regulations as specified by Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA).

Important Expectations/Guidelines from the RRC
  • Executive directors and school principals continue to have complete discretion to disallow research projects to take place in their school(s), even if a project is approved by the RRC.
  • MNPS formal approval letters will indicate whether you should or should not reach out directly to principals for school-level approval.
  • MNPS employees conducting research at the Doctoral Level (EdD & PhD) should not study their own schools, students, faculty, or staff.
Research Review Timeline
  • NOTE: RRC does not meet in April or May. All proposals submitted between March 1–May 31 will be reviewed in June. RRC meets once a month, usually around the middle of the month.
  • The deadline for submission is the last day of each month to be reviewed at the following month’s RRC meeting. For example, all submissions received between August 1-31 will be reviewed at the September RRC meeting.
  • RRC meetings typically occur around the middle of each month and responses are usually sent to researchers within two weeks following the meeting. The RRC may decide that a research proposal requires additional review beyond their expertise and that may extend the response wait time.
List of Approved Research in MNPS
Additional Helpful Links for Researchers